|Submitted By: Iyandenseer Date: August 10, 2013, 10:08:39 AM Views: 3862|
|Summary: A look at Wraithguard variations, combinations, and general strategies in the new codex.|
Hello fellow Seers, player of Iyanden since 4th edition here, the purpose of this article will be to cover the general use of Wraithguard and to analyze a few army builds and unit combinations that really allow you to get the most from your ghost warriors.
First, what role do wraithguard play in an Eldar force? As most of us know, as wily and fast as we space elves may be, our standard list builds are highly fragile and susceptible to turning into rainbow confetti at any point in the game. It is for this purpose that we turn to the Wraithguard. Featuring twice the toughness of our standard troops and four flavors of weapons that 'always fail to disappoint' , Wraithguard provide us with a potentially scoring unit that can startle people with both their survivability and fire power.
As we all should know the four flavors of Wraithguard are: Distortion Cannons, Distortion Flamers, swords or axes, and shields. Each has its place within the hardened Wraithbone core of an Iyanden force, but which is best? Mounted or on foot? Five or ten? These questions will be answered build by build.
The Old School of Running Wraithguard: Back in the day when there was only one flavor of Wraithguard, there was also only one way to make them scoring, and that was to take them in a squad of ten, which had to be on foot, and attach a Spiritseer, who was a sergeant not an HQ. This wraithwall tactic excelled in the previous codex for several reasons. The troops were tough, and could absorb damage. They could cover a 12-18" bubble of death that very few units dared to enter, and they could march straight down the field towards the opponents home objective, all the while enjoying a light snack of bolter fire, and, most importantly, they could rely on Conceal and Fortune to ensure they were getting an awesome re-rollable save. Nowadays psychic powers just are not as reliable, and ten wraithguard is a large investment to leave completely unbuffed and out in the open like a bunch of Marines with a pain fetish. Trying to walk up the fields with a huge squad of these bad boys will soon see you facing Ap1,2&3 weaponry en mass. A single Leman Russ, Vindicator, Riptide, Hell drake, Plasma Cannon Devastator squad, Doomscythe, or large blast/torrent weapon low ap wielding monster will mean the death for your supposedly ultra survivable unit. Is hope of running wraiths down the table dead, or do we have some options?
1. Eldrad Ulthran is both the most reliable means of rolling fortune, besides twin Farseers, and the most reliable means of allowing your wraiths to survive the opponent's first turn. The trick is when deploying first to place them as far away from where you actually want them (hidden on a flank in ruins) and wait for your opponent to put up all of their counters. Next proceed to smile with glee as you move them completely out of range/line of sight of all those scary units, hide in said ruins or whatever terrain is available, and activate your guaranteed turn of stealth. This works most of the time. Just make sure that you have enough fire power to eliminate your opponent's Wraith counter units as quickly as possible, so that you can begin a swift advance towards the enemy lines. Eldrad also provides a model capable of actually stepping up to a challenge with good odds of success. Do not be scared.
2. The shadow council is a unit of Seers that specializes in tending to your Wraiths. At least one Spiritseer is necessary to make your wraiths scoring. You like it when your Wraiths are scoring. The council does especially well when combined with Eldrad or a generic Farseer, but know that you are probably wasting a lot of points on psychic powers that can go either way on you. If you take a single Seer you have the option of sticking with Codex Eldar and using conceal as your Runes of Battle primaris power, which is excellent when combined with automatic stealth to really ensure that your Wraiths will survive, so that they can give your opponent a nice big hug. In large groups, Runes of Battle can be used to maximise just about every stat, while telepathy can create mass havoc within enemy lines, and invisibility is even better than Conceal for the cost of an extra point of warp charge. Also, as sad as this is fluff wise, the seers make excellent bullet sponges with the enemy having to wound Wraithguard toughness and, if they ignore armor, then having to deal with the Spiritseer's invulnerable save. As fun as it is to run the entire council, it's not very competitive, so maybe reconsider using the full five man council for your important games, but at least one Spiritseer makes your Wraithguard scoring and can provide some nice psychic support regardless of build.
3. Wraithlords, while very underrated in most reviews, have a very important role to play even today, which is the role of the babysitter. At an even higher toughness than your Wraithguard, the lord will be soaking up a lot of the fire power that could be killing your more important scoring units. With the Voice of Twilight, from the Iyanden supplement, you will be able to run and shoot with your lords (I say lords, because you should run two if your going to field any. Mine are a Wraithlord and Wraithlady ), allowing them to become mobile high toughness heavy weapons platforms, which can take a weapons load out for any situation. For a tournament consider one with Bright lances and one with Scatter lasers, not two with one each. The only gun you might want to run with a Scatter laser is a Starcannon, because they both want to shoot at similar targets, and you want to make both sets of shots count. Inevitably with a Wraithwall list, your going to get close to your enemy, and while your guns will suddenly be in range to kill one target, you may find yourself completely saturated by threats, especially against hordes, such as Orks, Tyranids, and Imperial Guard. Wraithlords are your counter assault unit, you like assaulting with Wraithlords. Send them to the forefront of your line, cover the enemies in fire, and charge for hammer of wrath, and a nice number of attacks at a very high strength. Additionally, as a character, if there is anything threatening like a Power fist, simply challenge and laugh as it either dies or runs away, glorious. It is just joyous when the enemy's weapons are useless, this is why it's a good idea to take a pair of Wraithlords.
4. Wraithknights are massive. Take three of them, go ahead, what's stopping you? Not the enemy that is for sure. I only run one myself, because I enjoy a bit of tactical challenge being an Eldar player and all, but regardless of how many you take the knight(s) are going to fulfil some important battlefield roles for a Wraithwall. First, like the Wraithlord, the knight will soak up enemy fire power like a dream. Better than a lord however, the knight has two very good options for long ranged fire power, which the core of the list seriously lacks. The bare bones option will allow you to pop enemy tanks and various monstrosities like a dream, so if you want to field a Wraithknight as cheaply as possible, this one is for you. The second option is a bit pricier, but features a weapon that makes Terminators run in fear plus a shield that turns enemy gunfire into rainbows (neat!). This is the option that I like to run, because it allows you to handle any kind of enemy infantry or monstrous creatures, while any tank can be downed by a well placed judo chop from this bad boy anyway, so why not eliminate heavy weapon teams and important objective holders? Regardless, with proper play the knight will either make his points back plus some, or he'll soak up enough fire power that the rest of your line will arrive intact. Not a bad choice for an Iyanden warlord either. If you really want to take a sword, put it on his back just to make him look cool, he doesn't need any extra close combat ability, really.
5. Guardians take bullets. Cheap, scoring, and mobile cover for your Wraithguard. They are also much needed horde deterrent. It is nice to add some extra bodies to a Wraith list and if you are into doing whatever it takes no matter the cost to get your Wraiths across the field this can work, but it is not the best tactic by any means. For a friendly game, it can be used to great effect. The only real issue arises in the fluff, where you end up killing off Eldar like worthless Monkeigh, but hey, you can always make more Wraithguard out of them right?
So those are some basic units that directly support our Wraiths. What we now need to know is which weapons to give our to our Ghost Warriors:
a) Vanilla/Cannons - Base points cost, kills everything, low volume of fire, and short range shooting that we all know and love. You can count on these guys to take out some of the toughest units in the game without breaking a sweat. With Guide/Prescience, or just a simple spirit mark, you are going to see a number of enemy models/wounds drop that is almost identical to the number of Wraiths shooting. With re-rolls to hit this unit is an ace flyer deterrent, save for Helldrakes, which will ruin your day before your Wraiths can react. Always a solid choice. Take in units of ten to maximize buffs.
b)Chocolate/Scythes - Richer in both points cost and destruction than their vanilla kin, these are everybody's new favorite thing ever. Unfortunately, this unit has no place on foot, ever, unless they're about to flame something to death. Sorry, but put them in a wave serpent. They can provide great support this way to the Wraith line, but they cannot be the Wraith line.
c)Strawberry/Swords - Not too many people pick strawberry, but it is not terrible, it is just not terribly effective either. I just do not see this unit bringing anything to the table that Marines and their grandmothers do not already have. You can consider running a five man squad for charge support if you go vanilla, but, left by themselves, they can be outmanoeuvred and laughed at.
d)Rocky Road/Axes & Shields - The other white meat. This unit excels at being on foot, because of its invulnerable save, the importance of such a save should never be underestimated when slogging wraiths up the table. Fewer, but more effective, attacks with great strength and ap allow these units to take on the toughest foes in the galaxy head to head. Personally, I would pick vanilla anyway, call me a creature of habit, but if you were going to build a Wraithwall of another kind, this is that kind. The toughest form of wraith. Field in a squad of ten for the wall, or if you like being awesome field a five man squad with your vanilla wall, and really wreck face with it.
This old school tactic still finds a home against many builds, and in the hands of an expert player, but it has some extreme shortcomings against foes with serious TEQ/MEQ counter weaponry, which everyone generally has. The trick is to keep your wall alive no matter the cost, even if that means a turn or two of delay while your hiding/staying out of range until you can take out that riptide or whatever, better to show up late than not at all.
Next I'm going to cover a mechanized Wraith assault List:
The New Wave of Wraithguard: Instead of running huge blobs of Wraiths across the table where the opponent knows exactly where they are going, put them in a Wave Serpent, which provides mobility, protection, anti-horde, and flying monstrous creature control, all for the cost of the Wraiths you were probably going to lose anyway, or for some of your Spiritseers. Not only is this list unpredictable to your opponent, but in your face and as tough as nails, owing to the nature of the Wraithguard themselves. So, which units work well with mounted wraiths, and what does each individual flavor of Wraith bring to the table?
1. Wave Serpents are the greatest tank ever! Not only are they the only tank that can carry Wraiths, but they are also our most survivable and versatile tanks, thanks to their field. When running Wraiths in Serpents take Holofields. You do not want those Wraiths stranded on foot. It is sometimes a good idea to give some other less important unit a Serpent, so that it can give it up in case one of your Wraith carriers go down, or you can always hug cover near objectives to give them the best fighting chance on foot once they are grounded, but please take protective measures first by taking the Holofields. Another compulsory choice is the Scatter laser. You may be tempted by the other options, but you can accomplish that elsewhere. When you drop your shields you want those extra shots to be twin-linked. This is a perfect example of synergy within a single tank. Eldar enjoy synergy for breakfast.
2. Eldrad Ulthran makes another appearance in this type of list. First turn stealth is really effective for keeping your serpents alive. It goes like this: redeploy, move twelve, flat out eighteen, activate stealth, be wherever you want and have a great cover save. You did take Holofields right? Eldrad will also be a maelstrom of a psyker when you dismount, but this is an expensive option.
3. Karandras is a ninja of DOOOOM! Imagine this, a squad of beloved Wraithguard equipped with Distortion scythes outflanking in a Wave Serpent with this guy. Not being able to charge from a transport these days is kind of a pain, so why not take a single model that brings the hurt of an entire squad of Scorpions, and stick him in a unit that can bring the hurt to the games toughest opponents? They wound more often, thanks to Ambush of Blades, survive enemy shooting, laugh as whole enemy squads disintegrate in charges before a Mandiblaster shot is fired, and then proceed to flame/stalk to death your opponent's tasty center from behind. My vote for the best mechanized Wraith HQ, closely followed by....
4. Spiritseers are always the essential to include in Wraith lists. There is not too much that is new here. The Voice of Twilight and Spirit Mark are handy, as are a few invulnerable tank saves, and the Seer is very reasonably priced. Take one. Just do it. Take more if you are feeling particularly sexy for breakfast. This leads to added fun and randomness that can go both ways, but note the following warning. More of then than not, the result is still going to be remounting with your surviving Wraiths and running away towards objectives anyway, so do not expect too much mileage from these guys. You could probably grab more mileage elsewhere.
5. Warp Spiders are one such unit you should consider taking before choosing multiple Spiritseers. Their deepstrike move will put them, along with most of your army, in your opponent's deployment zone in turn two. Target saturation helps, but this is a fragile unit, unlike our Wraiths, so use that Battle Focus and assault move to get behind some cover. They are excellent against most targets, but are ultimately a wild card.
6. Wraithknights, which despite what you think by name are actually smaller than Wraithlords. (Explain that.... I bet it is Ward's fault). The Knight has the manoeuvrability to keep up with the rest of the list, unlike our unappreciated and unloved Wraithlord friends these days. These big boys provide the much needed smash element that really says to your opponent, 'you can either shoot this giant thing, or the wave serpents', but we all know that both are probably going to hit enemy lines anyway, so it is fantastic if he can soak up as much enemy anti-tank fire power as possible. This does not mean that you should throw him into the rang of things, but instead use him to soak up what the enemy would normally be throwing at your Serpents. Let us also not forget the huge guns, hurray!
7. A Farseer mounted on a Jetbike, equipped with the Mantle of the Laughing God can be a great way to have a Seer casting outside of a Serpent to buff your army. This is not bad, but not too good, and it is fun and gets the job done.
8. Jetbikes score big points! These are best kept cheap and in reserve. These units feature the highest speeds in the game, good cover saves, and they are scoring. Keep them hidden! The Shuriken Cannon is optional for small squads, because you probably want to keep them as far away from the enemy and turbo boosted for the extra cover save. These units excel at coming in while the hurricane of wraith destruction is distracting your opponent and taking objectives from underneath their nose.
9. Rangers are another one of those cheap objective scoring units that will die on turn one about half the time. Regardless, they are generally an auto include for my list due to their low cost and infiltration capabilities. A good tactic if you want one squad of your Wraiths to take a midfield objective, preferably behind line of sight blocking terrain, is to infiltrate your Rangers there, and get into the Serpent that is now vacant. It may sound silly, but call it insurance. If you have any Wraiths stranded during the game your Ranger rescue team can swoop in and pick them up, while the Rangers take forward positions. Food for thought. Shenanigans aside, a cheap unit of stealthy objective holders never hurt anybody.
10. Heavy Support Grav Tanks fit the list's theme very nicely, and will benefit from the fact that your opponent's anti-tank weapons are already overwhelmed. Keep them at the back, or in the case of the Night Spinner, just use the Crystal Targeting Matrix to ram torrent fire down your opponent's throat with the rest of your Serpents, and hopefully pin something that could have threatened your disembarking Wraiths. I use a Wraithknight for the blast at range role, but heavy tanks do just fine. Consider a pair of them with a Jetbike mounted Mantle Seer, so that your blasts/lances will never miss.
Again, we have covered a selection of units that can really help to maximize what your wraiths already bring to the table while mounted up, so what flavor goes in that cone?
a) Vanilla is always a popular option, they play the role of Fire Dragons, but are much tougher. Take that ten man squad, cut it in half, and run it in a pair of Serpents, and suddenly your Wraithguard are making it to enemy lines several turns ahead of when they used to. The only downside would seem to be if you roll Fortune, but that is rare. Just Spirit Mark your target(s) and annihilate.
b) Chocolate is smooth and delicious, in fact you would be hard pressed to find a better mounted unit. It is so good that it may even be worth adding some extra goodies such as Vectored Engines or Ghostwalk to their Wave Serpent, in order to give them that extra panache.
c) Strawberry I'm again hesitant about, but there are definitely major gains when mounted. Just throw them out when the rest of your Wraiths move to shoot, and bail anyone out of trouble that needs it. This configuration is perhaps better than axes in this context, owing to the extra attacks and the lesser demand for survivability, since they have already reached their target destination. I would take more guns, but if you have a fetish for melée then by Khaine, send in the Wraithblades!
d) Mint chocolate chip?? I would stick to using units equipped with axes on foot, unless you know your going to face a lot of Power Weapons or exceptionally tough opponents. It is really a toss up this time. Know your opponent.
Many Tournaments do not allow Forgeworld for obvious reasons, but for friendly games or FW approved tournaments there is an entire arsenal of good stuff available to make Wraithguard even stronger, and this treasure trove takes the form of the Eldar Corsairs codex from Imperial Armor 11. One astonishing tactic becomes available upon allying with our Corsair brethren: Deep striking Wraithguard. Imagine a squad of ten landing in the opponents backfield and wreaking havoc, it's glorious. Just don't use this tactic against the Tau, because interceptor will see those guard taken off the table as fast as they arrived. First, some supporting units and new goodies from Codex: Eldar Corsairs.
1. Corsair Prince: This is the HQ that makes all of this possible. Running as a sub par Autarch, with access to tons of goodies and a certain style that is hard to look down upon. Not only does he have access to a decent selection of wargear, but he also brings in fleet support to your Eldar forces in two ways. The first of these takes the form of orbital strikes, which can be concentrated, barrage, or bring night fighting for a turn of our choosing; night fighting being an excellent way to advance Wraithguard under cover. The second is the ability to deep strike any three units from the codex that you desire. This can only be one choice from Eldar elite and fast attack, one elite or fast attack from Dark Eldar and any unit from Corsairs proper. I'll let that sink in. All of a sudden we can not only ally with every form of Eldar into a single force, but we can also put it all on the opponent's edge in no time at all. The prince is an auto include.
*Apocalypse Note* With no force organisation chart, who is to say that you cannot deep strike 30 wraithguard. Just saying .
2. Corsair Squad: Essentially guardians equipped with either jump packs or mounted in a transport to be effective. Also, deep striking in a Venom never hurt anybody. An Eldar Corsair force must include at least one of these units. No worries they come in fives.
3. Wasp Walkers: War Walkers that count as troops. Need I say more?
4. Trueborn in a venom: This is one of those units which really complements the Wraithguard if they deep strike. While the wraiths have a few incredibly powerful shots, the Venom and our dark kin come with an intense volume of shooting. A tactic like this takes commitment, so units like this really help to improve your presence.
5. Spiritseers in Wave Serpents: Remember when I was describing that uber foot squad chock full of Seers that struggled walking up the table, but loved being close? Well here is your chance to rush up your Wave Serpents, preferably on a flank, deep strike your guard, then deploy all of your Seers right there with them. Deathstar à la carte.
6. Farseers on Jetbikes: As was the case with the previous tactic, Jetbikes can get where you want them to be and get there strongly. Consider the mantle or a bodyguard to keep your Seer(s) alive.
As far as choices for Wraiths go:
a) I do not see why you would not take standard D-cannons.
b) Flamers are deadly beyond mercy, but suffer from scatter liability.
c) Axes will cut apart a gun line and can survive close combat threats, but you cannot charge after a deep strike, so a lot of your surprise power is dissipated when adopting this tactic.
d) Swords are worse than axes, because no invulnerable in the enemy backfield is a sad day for foot slogging choppy units.
I hope by this time your starting to get a good understanding of how to maximize your Wraithguard. I am sure that there are a lot more options, so be sure to comment and we can improve the article over time. I shall now conclude with a brief look at deployment for maximizing both survivability and utility.
Hammer and Anvil: This is a classic strategy where the Wraithwall is placed dead center, with a few supporting units such as Wraithlords, and marched straight down the table, soaking up fire and building pressure, boxing your opponent in while your mechanized support focuses attacks on a single flank. A strategy as blatant as this should only be used when your opponent does not have something that can wipe your Wraiths off the table as easily as Guardsmen. If facing such a threat, it is best to hide during the first few turns. If the conditions are right, this can be a very aggressive power move. In mechanised variants, a Wraithknight can often be a lone anvil while your Serpents concentrate on the flank.
Castle: Another classic, take all of your troops, especially with a little Eldrad misdirection, and hide them in the corner! Hahaha. No enemy will be in range, with luck, and you can survive the enemy's alpha strike, or prepare to defend against a massive close combat, Drop Pod, or bike rush. This is an ideal defensive strategy, and also usually the best deployment strategy for Wave Serpents, since you should always be prepared for your opponent to seize the initiative anyway.
Blitzkrieg: This is what happens when you send all of your Serpents as fast as possible towards the enemy. Generally you do not want to be a fool, so you should pick a flank and concentrate your forces on it. This will not only deny as much enemy retaliation as possible, but will also allow you to kill what you shoot at, instead of putting a couple of wounds on every enemy squad. It is called Battle Focus for a reason, you will need exceptional target priority, since you are sacrificing a lot of your mobility for a bum rush, but if you have enough offensive reserve elements this can be a very scary tactic.
Good luck fellow seers and walkers of the path of war, I look forward to your input.
October 2013//Forgeworld added 12/24/13
Rating: by 5 members.